Towards the western end of the Rockaway peninsula, workers at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar have been working triple overtime to prepare for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The popular concession operation at the old Bathhouse brought back outdoor dining and alcohol service last Saturday in accordance with city and state phase two guidelines, including distanced tables and limited capacity to go along with sanitizing, mask and social distancing protocols.
“There’s a lot of new regulations and protocols for both our staff and the public to get used to but for the most part there were god vibes across the board, and if you have to wear a mask to be served and socially distance, so be it,” Riss Park Beach Bazaar C0-Owner Belvy Klein said. “I think people are just so stoked to be able to be out on the beach again, sit at a table with friends or family, and have some tasty food and beverages and, you know, actually take a minute to relax and enjoy life for a change.”
Klein expanded the Bay 9 East Beer Garden and the Bathhouse Beer Garden, which will open soon, to provide more space for distanced outdoor dining and drinking and food is available for both table service and takeout. Although food vendors have been scaled back due to COVID restrictions, RPBB welcomed back two of its most popular operators: The Dropout, which serves burgers, hot dogs and chicken fingers; and Rockaway Clam Bar, which serves their trademark lobster rolls and other seafood.
Additionally, RPBB will shortly be adding Cuisine by Claudette and a number of food truck vendors. All concerts and DJ events at RPBB remain canceled until “gatherings” are reinstated during a future phase of the reopening, Klein is thrilled to be back in business.
“I’m not going to mince words. It has been brutal. This city’s been through a lot these last three or four months. We all have,” Klein said. “And for small businesses like us, it’s been financially, emotionally, physically, all pretty devastating and draining. New York City’s largest employment sector is the service industry; restaurants and bars are the lifeblood of this town. Don’t let us die — support your favorite local spots, but be responsible. We need you now more than ever.”
RPBB, which is co-owned by Aaron Broudo, is open seven days a week, weather permitting, with operating hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information visit the RPBB website here.